Alex Boyé is a world-renowned British-American musician, actor, and entertainer. He is a former member of and continues to perform with the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir on different occasions. He was also a contestant on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
On 5 April 2018, he released a music video cover of the popular song, “A Million Dreams,” from the blockbuster movie The Greatest Showman. Produced by the Dixie State University marketing and communication department, Alex described the video project which took six days to film at 15 different locations across Washington County, Utah, and includes a 200-person children’s choir, a full orchestra, and African-style drummers, as the biggest project he has ever done. His YouTube channel was started on 6 January 2012, and as of early July 2018, his videos have garnered more than 172 million views, with more than 657,000 subscribers.
On Saturday, 23 June 2018, in Salt Lake City, Utah, it was announced that Alex Boyé will be Utah’s refugee ambassador. Utah Governor Gary Herbert will officially recognize Alex as refugee ambassador at an event that will be held later this month. In a tweet, Alex said, “there is a lot of things I want to do to help raise awareness to our Utah refugees and highlight the amazing things they do.”
Alex himself could be considered somewhat of a refugee. He was born in England to Nigerian parents and briefly lived in Nigeria during his childhood. He was then raised by foster parents in England while his mother remained in Nigeria. He mostly took care of himself, lived in foster care, or stayed with a relative. At sixteen years old, he found The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized. He later served a fulltime mission for the Church to the England Bristol Mission.
Post mission, he organized a very successful boy band, Awesome, in 1995. While growing up in the Tottenham neighborhood, he was inspired by Motown legends, such as Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. To follow his own musical path, he incorporated soul and Motown influences into a European boy band sound. Awesome signed to Universal Records Europe, selling half a million records and making the Top Ten on pop charts throughout Europe. They performed alongside Brian Adams, The Backstreet Boys, George Michael, Simon and Garfunkel, and MC Hammer.
Bethany Hyatt, public information officer for the Utah Department of Workforce Services(DWS) – a service which helps refugees find jobs and integrate into society in Utah through the Utah Refugee Services Office – stated that Alex’s ambassadorship would not be a full-time position, but he will speak on behalf of the Governor at public events about refugees and engage in conversation with refugee communities. She further commented, “The role of the ambassador is to raise awareness among the mainstream community of the challenges faced by the refugees living in Utah now. We are currently putting together a vision of what makes sense with his schedule and what his interests are to align those with the needs we have.” As refugee ambassador, Alex will hopefully teach fellow Utahans how to be of better service to their refugee neighbors as they try to adapt to their new surroundings and overcome such challenges as understanding the language, finding employment to sustain their families, and learning how to coordinate transportation.
There are approximately 65,000 refugees and children of refugees in Utah. Alex was able to meet a few refugees for the first time and hear their stories at the World Refugee Day on Saturday, 23 June 2018. At the World Refugee Day, several immigrants, like Ubah Abdi, took the oath to become citizens of the United States. Abdi came to America more than six years ago as a refugee from Somalia.
Anyone who is interested in helping refugees can volunteer through programs like the Southern Utah Refugee Relief, Know Your Neighbor program, or the Utah Refugee Connection. Those wanting to help refugees can also donate money to the Refugee Services Fund through DWS. They can also donate goods to organizations like Deseret Industries, Utah Refugee Connection, and the Refugee and Immigrant Center-Asian Association of Utah.